Saturday 29 June 2019

Trip to Muskoka Part 2 – the turtles

We traveled to Muskoka, a 4-hour trip. It was quite something. We saw 22 turtles on or near the road between Perth (highway # 7) and Minden (up # 62). Mostly painted turtles or snapping turtles. On the way home, only 4. The difference? We had the day before our trip, and it seemed to bring out the turtles.

This is a new one! A baby painted turtle.

It's a mating season for them, the painted turtles cross highways to find the ideal summer habitat.

The snapping turtles are laying eggs. They crawl up onto the sandy shoulders. They will be as deep as their back legs will go. They lay eggs, upon maturity, at about age 15 - 20.

They're fierce, the snappers. They have long necks, if you grab them, grab from the rear.

This is my favorite photo of a snapper. In Bala, 2009. An ancient monster!

Most of our 8 species of turtles in Ontario are at risk on the continuum: special concern, threatened, or endangered. The 9th, eastern box turtle, is considered extirpated in Canada. While a lot of try to avoid them on the highway, sometimes it isn't possible. Snappers are 'special concern'.

Each snapping turtle lays about 40 - 50 eggs. The critters have learned to bring them up and eat them. This is from the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF), who drive around the Ottawa region , picking up turtle eggs. They have 400 in incubators.
"The team has to act fast: One night last week they market the location of an egg-laying turtle, left for a few hours to collect the eggs from two other nests, and when they returned, a raccoon had eaten every single egg. "

There are several turtle wildlife rehabs. Our local rehab does all sorts of critters, as well as turtles. It was suggested that local know, when you are traveling, will know whom to call. I wish I'd thought of that.

They were everywhere, we drove along highway # 7, which has march on either or both sides, then on up to Haliburton. We didn't stop if I thought the turtle was nearly there.

This turtle had trouble crossing, as she seemed to be moving along the highway, rather than across. We drove past, turned around, and came back. I was watching her from the car, and people noticed and slowed down, avoiding here. She was making good progress, when a woman popped onto the shoulder, got out of her car, and looked for her window scraper. She told me she'd rescued the SEVEN turtles!

We went through Haliburton, and on top of a low bridge I was stopped by a snapping turtle. I was making a plan in my head, when this dude jumped out of his truck behind me, and started to take control. The turtle was having none of it. She turned around and went after him! He told me he'd just rescued one and few minutes back!

Traffic stopped on both sides of my location. The truck in front put on her 4-way emergency lights. I felt the power of people who care. I was, of course, totally blocking traffic in my lane. You can pick up the little ones, but the big ones stamp and bite.

This young lady hopped out of her truck, put on her gloves, and did the deed. I didn't have the heart to tell them that she took the turtle to the wrong side of the road!

I spotted another snapping turtle, on its back. I turned around and went back. Righting it, it didn't look as if it would survive. At least, it was off the road. We were miles from anywhere. It was gruesome. No photo. Too gross.

On the way home, on highway #62, I spotted a small painted turtle, so I parked and  got out of the car.

The car in the photo stopped on the highway, letting me cross safely, and the motorcyclist, who'd stopped behind her, gave me the thumbs up as he went by! There are so many good people looking after them!

I spotted a Blanding's Turtle, they are 'threatened.' If you recall we had CWF, and David Seburn (the specialist), do a survey in our swamp [Endangered turtles in Ontario: our turtle survey]. They only found one small one.

This one stopped when I stopped. I was too close and it was spooked.

This is a Blandings I found at home.

Turtle mitigation barriers

This area is high-risk for turtles, highway # 62. They came up with and idea, it was $ 192,000 for this section of turtle fencing. The home owner we spoke to said they'd seen more on the road than ever before. He even had a mix of turtle on his lawn.
The turtles go around the fence, and the hampers get back to where they want to be, once they are done.


She was having fun with us watching as she talked to the turtle.

Lots of drivers slowed down, if not stopped. There are so many good people in the world!

Saturday's Critters # 289


coffeeontheporchwithme said...

This post made me very happy. I'm so glad people were willing to stop, or at least wait while other people stopped to help. I know someone who worked in a transportation department. He said that they were constantly having their "turtle crossing" signs stolen. As soon as they put one up, someone would come along and steal it. -Jenn

eileeninmd said...


It is great to hear of so many people helping the turtles cross the road.

The little ones are so cute. Love the turtles. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend. Thanks also for leaving me a comment.

Anvilcloud said...

I wonder if it was the same lady. Sha was stopped on 7 for a lady helping a turtle cross.

Yamini MacLean said...

hari OM
Well done to all in these attempts! YAM xx

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I'm glad to see people helping too. We see turtles crossing here sometimes too and I always hope they will make it! Great pics and videos this week! Thanks!

William Kendall said...

I've stopped to escort snappers across the road.

Rain said...

Oh, my heart is touched by people who take care of wildlife...those turtles are just amazing!

Red said...

No turtles here at all. there may be some on southern Alberta. You're doing a good job.

Sue (this n that) said...

This is a truly fascinating post Jenn. I loved reading about the different kinds of turtles too.
Its great how everyone looks out for them.
Shame about the turtle mitigation fencing... must've seemed a good idea at the time.

Lowcarb team member said...

I so agree with Sue above, this was a fascinating post to see and read.
I'm so pleased that people do stop and help the turtles :)

All the best Jan